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Samples’ passion for swimming leads to success

Senior Maddison Samples reaches across the lane to congratulate the second place finisher in her race at the District 7-5a meet after she took the gold medal in the 50 freestyle. (Raquel Mejia photo)
Senior Maddison Samples reaches across the lane to congratulate the second place finisher in her race at the District 7-5a meet after she took the gold medal in the 50 freestyle. (Raquel Mejia photo)

Water is splashing everywhere, arms are swinging at a high rate of speed as senior Maddison Samples kicks her legs with all the possible strength she has to finish the final lap of her race at the district meet. Finally, she stretches her arm out to touch the wall in hopes that she is in front of her competition. As she looks up and checks the time, a smile appears on her face when she realizes that she is the winner of the 50m freestyle race.  Soon after she clears the water from her eyes, the next thing she sees is the second place finisher of the race, her friend from DeSoto. What comes after is what defines Samples. She reaches across the lane and shakes the hand of her friend to congratulate her for finishing in second place.

“I’ve always been told that if I’m going to do something then I should always give it my all,” Samples said.  “And always try to stay humble about it.”

Samples first decided to join the sport because her mother, Lisa Martin, had a friend that taught a synchronized swimming class at the Natatorium. After her mom asked if she wanted to be a swimmer at the age of nine, Samples never looked back.

“I thought that she meant being a synchronized swimmer, so I said yes because I thought it would be a lot of fun,” Samples said. “But when I got there I realized that it was an actual competitive swimming class. Luckily I fell in love with the sport.”

This love has carried on throughout her swimming career as witnessed by her coach at Duncanville, Teresa Chumbly. Chunbley says her determination, dedication, and passion for the sport make her stand out the most as a swimmer.

“She practices twice a day most days,” Chumbley said. “Early morning with our high school team and in the evenings with her club teams. Every day she is focused and ready for practices. She has a strong desire to win and a great passion for the sport.”

For Samples, swimming has just been second nature. Right now she says she is focused on representing her team in both the 50m Free and 100m Backstroke which she won at district. Her plans are to do the same at Regionals this weekend. Samples has been a regional qualifier since her freshman year and says she has always followed the same routine prior to every race.

“Before every meet I always check the heat sheet,” Samples said. “I always have to see the other swimmers’ times and normally my adrenaline is pumping. No matter who is on the sheet and what their times are I always pray before each race so I stay strong and competitive, but not to the point where those feelings overtake me. This way my nerves go away.”

Praying before every race is just an example of how Samples tends to look to God for strength before each meet. She said her faith is extremely important in life.

“I’ve always stuck to Philippians 4:13 which says ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Samples said. “I always try to keep this in mind with everything I do in and out the pool.”

This is Samples’ senior year and she admits that her plate is full. She’s captain of the swim team, swims for a club team, has to keep up with all her rigorous classes, and somehow through all of this, enjoy her senior year. Sample’s mother has been there for her from the beginning she says as her number one fan and has witnessed her daughter grow as an athlete.

“When Maddie first started at age nine, obviously it was a new sport but I could tell that she would excel,” Martin said. “The older she has gotten, the more serious she has taken this sport.”

Samples mother attends every meet with a camera in hand. She admits that when she videos her daughter’s races, it is obvious that she is serious about what she does.

“I see Maddie as highly competitive. She demands the best of herself and the best of those around her,” Martin said. “She always tries her best to help her teammates. So her commitment to the sport and to her teammates is unreal in my opinion”

Throughout all of this, Samples feels that she has been fortunate enough to have a supportive family there for her all the time. She said her sister who now swims in college, along with her family from all the way down in Houston, show up periodically to watch her swim and cheer for her.

“My family is great about supporting me,” Samples said. “Of course my mom has always been there, but I have grandparents that can’t even drive, yet the find a way to be there a see me swim at my meets. They’re all very supportive”

Sample’s says swimming seems like a probable possibility in her future. Although she hasn’t committed to a university team yet, her decision will be made sometime after regionals. For now she said her focus is on practicing for her upcoming competition and helping her team get to state.

“Maddie has been a great captain,” senior swimmer Crisely Mendez said. “She’s always trying to help everyone and wants us all to do and be better. Overall she’s just been great.”

Samples believes that swimming has affected her life in so many ways. She said not only has swimming kept her healthy, but she feels it allows her to be a lot more outgoing.

“I talk to a lot more people now than I did before,” Samples said. “Even at meets I’ll go and introduce myself to the other competitors and congratulate them when it’s done.”

Those around her say Samples is known for her positive attitude and kindness that she portrays to everyone.

“Maddie always tries to stay positive with the team,” Mendez said. “She has a smile on her face everyday”

Samples number one fan says there is one major thing that indicates her feelings for the sport.

“Passion comes from you loving something, and Maddie loves swimming.” Martin said.

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    Lisa MartinFeb 19, 2014 at 11:44 am

    It is nice to see a DHS Swimmer feature story. This was a great article. Go Panthers!